Latest Blog Posts

<p>Richard Belzer as John Munch on &quot;Law &amp;&nbsp;Order:&nbsp;Special Victims Unit.&quot;</p>

Richard Belzer as John Munch on "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit."

Credit: NBC

'Law & Order: SVU' retires Detective Munch

Between 'SVU,' 'Homicide' and a bunch of other series, Belzer has played Munch for more than 20 years

After 20 years, several hundred episodes and appearances on more shows than any other character in American TV history, Detective John Munch is retiring.

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<p>Idris Elba in &quot;Mandela.&quot;</p>

Idris Elba in "Mandela."

Credit: The Weinstein Company

Idris Elba's 'Mandela' to meet the Queen as this year's Royal Film Performance

Can the indifferently reviewed biopic regain any awards momentum?
The Weinstein Company's "Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom" landed with a bit of a thud at Toronto.  Idris Elba may have received respectable reviews for his performance as the freedom fighter who became South Africa's first democratically elected president, as did Naomie Harris as his controversial wife, Winnie. But early, trailer-assisted fears that the film would turn out to be a stodgy, Wikipedia-style biopic were largely borne out by the reviews, swiftly cutting the film's awards hopes down to a long-shot Best Actor bid for Elba and little more. 
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'Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.' gets a full-season pickup

"Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D." gets a full-season pickup

The ABC drama will run 22 episodes this season.

Richard Belzer and "SVU" boss talk Munch's exit
Exec producer Warren Leight says of Munch leaving: "It's painful."

Questlove will publish a book on "Soul Train," his 2nd book in months

"Soul Train: The Music, Dance and Style of a Generation" is due out Oct. 22, with a preface by Nick Cannon.

Miley Cyrus will perform at the American Music Awards

Will she try and top her VMA performance?

Nick Offerman announces he's doing "The Simpsons," reveals that Sam Elliott is his "personal hero"
"When I heard that Sam Elliott was going to be playing my Eagleton equivalent," says Offerman, "my first feeling was a deep, ruby flush of embarrassment that anyone would remotely consider putting me in the same room as my personal hero."

Albuquerque steakhouse to hold a funeral for Walter White
Vernon's Hidden Valley Steakhouse has organized the "Breaking Bad" funeral for this Saturday, with set decorator Michael Flowers delivering the eulogy. PLUS: See Walter White in a Phillies jersey, and a tennis announcer uses "Breaking Bad" references in tennis match.

"The Simpsons" to feature Judd Apatow, Leslie Mann, Channing Tatum, Seth Rogen and Paul Rudd
All in one episode!

Whitney Cummings recalls stealing Chelsea Handler's Bentley
Cummings recounted the tale to Jay Leno.

"Bachelor" Ben Flajnik denies rumor he's dating Kris Jenner

But "Keeping Up With The Kardashians" did film at his winery.

Watch the trailer for Syfy's "Bitten" starring Laura Vandervoort
The female werewolf series asks: Who's afraid of the big, blonde wolf?

"Queer Eye" reunion gets air date
Andy Cohen will host "Queer Eye Reunion: 10 Years Later" on Oct. 20.

"Archer" does "Top Gun"
Watch the animated series' "Danger Zone."

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<p>Wednesday's &quot;Modern Family&quot;</p>

Wednesday's "Modern Family"

Credit: ABC

TV Ratings: 'Super Fun Night,' 'Ironside' take Wednesday drops as 'Modern Family,' 'Criminal Minds' lead

'Arrow' and 'Tomorrow People' have solid launches for The CW
Fast National ratings for Wednesday, October 9, 2013.
With "Modern Family" delivering Wednesday's best numbers among young viewers and "Criminal Minds" drawing the biggest audience, it was no surprise to see ABC and CBS battling for Wednesday's ratings crowns.
It also wasn't surprising to see NBC's "Ironside" dip ever-closer to cancellation in its second week, nor to see ABC's "Super Fun Night" take a rather large dip in its second airing.
Most of Wednesday's TV offerings posted small declines, with "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit" having one of the bigger drops and ABC's "The Middle" serving as one of the exceptions with a small audience gain.
Meanwhile, the second season premiere of "Arrow" basically equalled its May finale in both viewers and in the key demo, giving a solid lead-in for "The Tomorrow People," which retained well in its debut.
On to the numbers... 
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Kanye West boosts Jimmy Kimmel's ratings

Kanye West boosts Jimmy Kimmel's ratings
Kimmel beat both Jay Leno and David Letterman with the high-profile Kanye interview.

"Super Fun Night" and "Ironside" see decline in Week 2
The Rebel Wilson comedy lost 29% of its premiere viewership. Meanwhile, "The Tomorrow People" premiered to 2.3 million.

Miley Cyrus' name has been removed from all "Hannah Montana" items on iTunes
Everything related to "Hannah Montana" is now credited to Hannah Montana, and not Miley Cyrus.

Watch Kristen Wiig & Tobey Maguire play sibling lovers on IFC
They're starring in "The Spoils of Babylon" from Funny or Die.

NFL's new "Hard Knocks" requirement will exempt nearly every team
Yes, the NFL will start forcing teams to participate on the HBO reality show. But with three separate exemptions, the NFL would only have five of the 32 teams to pick from if it had to force a team to participate this year.

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<p>&quot;Life of Pi,&quot; the last film to win the Best Cinematography and Visual Effects combo.</p>

"Life of Pi," the last film to win the Best Cinematography and Visual Effects combo.

Credit: 20th Century Fox

Roundup: Are the cinematography and visual effects Oscars getting too close?

Also: Variety's 10 Actors to Watch, and the complex effects of 'Noah'
As mentioned in a roundup earlier this week, Emmanuel Lubezki is the runaway favorite to win his first (and overdue) Best Cinematography Oscar for "Gravity." Many would agree that seems a just outcome, but Lubezki fan Nathaniel Rogers has some reservations. Pointing out that it'd almost certainly be the fifth year in a row that one film wins for cinematography and visual effects -- following "Avatar," "Inception," "Hugo" and "Life of Pi" -- Rogers believes this signals the "collapse" of the former category. Lubezki would be a deserving winner, he writes, but "I worry for the craft that it's come to this, that your film has to push the visual effects envelope and you have to be 3D for your DP to be considered Oscar-worthy." Is he right to be concerned? [The Film Experience]
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"Top Chef"

"Top Chef"

Credit: Bravo

'Top Chef' recap: Is giving bad food to volunteers still a good deed?

It's a food truck challenge to feed Habitat for Humanity workers

Things are heating up (that's funny, because New Orleans is hotter than an armpit most of the time!) on "Top Chef: New Orleans," as front runners are emerging, dark horses have reared their heads and whinnied and the lesser-thans are being picked off like teenagers in a cheap horror movie. While not all of the food looks entirely edible (and hey, with gumbo, it never really looks great, does it?), some of it sounds delicious, and that's enough for me. Until someone invents Taste-o-Vision, this, and the snarky comments of our judges, will have to do.

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Jimmy Kimmel and Kanye West make nice after Twitter "rap feud"

Jimmy Kimmel and Kanye West make nice after Twitter "rap feud"
The nearly 25-minute interview included a Kimmel apology and a Kanye rant that lasted more than eight minutes.

Richard Belzer is leaving "SVU"
Munch will no longer be a series regular after turning in his retirement papers.

Study: Viewers prefer TV shows with diverse casts
UCLA researchers studied 1,000 shows, and found that shows with the most diversity had higher ratings.

Michele Bachmann responds to Miley Cyrus' "SNL" sketch
"I've never done twerking in my life, and I don't intend to take it up," said the Minnesota congresswoman says of Miley impersonating her.

ESPN pulling out of "League of Denial" brought a lot of attention to the "Frontline" documentary
Had ESPN not pulled out, the "Frontline" probably would've had a much-smaller audience.

Craig Robinson detained briefly drug possession in the Bahamas
"The Office" alum was ordered to pay a fine after he authorities found him with ecstasy and marijuana.

Is "Modern Family" still "modern"?

After 100 episodes, the ABC sitcom feels very traditional. PLUS: "Modern Family" boss recalls all the ways the show could've gone wrong, and what would the show be like on cable?

Seattle police calls Stephen Colbert "rife with errors"
The Seattle PD "objected" to this week's segment on marijuana legalization.

"South Park's" George Zimmerman episode was one of its best "Controversy" episodes
"World War Zimmerman" used "World War Z" to skewer Zimmerman.

Rebel Wilson: I've received no U.S. weightloss offers
Despite rumors, the "Super Fun Night" star says she's concentrating on her TV show.

Jimmy Kimmel does a special musician edition of "Celebrities Read Mean Tweets"

Watch a special edition featuring John Legend, Darius Rucker and Demi Lovato.

Kris & Bruce Jenner have actually separated for nearly a year
Did E! cameras already film their split?

Food Network orders more "Mystery Diners"
The undercover restaurant reality show has received a 26-episode pickup.

Is "Coven" too straightforward for the "American Horror Story" franchise?
Normally, "AHS" thrives on being chaotic. Not this season. PLUS: This season feels like a tropical vacation compared to last year, "AHS" is "ambitious, bitchy, frisky, entertaining as all-get-out," how "AHS" comes up with those creepy promos, and Kathy Bates on joining "AHS."

Chris Hardwick's Comedy Central late-night show gets a premiere date
"@midnight" premieres Oct. 21.

"The Six Million Dollar Man" will get a 6th season, via comic book

"The Six Million Dollar Man: Season 6" picks up where the TV show left off in 1978.

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<p>Benedict Cumberbatch as Julian Assange in &quot;The Fifth Estate.&quot;</p>

Benedict Cumberbatch as Julian Assange in "The Fifth Estate."

Credit: DreamWorks Pictures

Julian Assange writes Benedict Cumberbatch, ironically helps publicize 'The Fifth Estate'

Or perhaps that's what he meant to do?

It’s safe to say that reviews for Bill Condon’s WikiLeaks thriller “The Fifth Estate” were not quite what DreamWorks was hoping for when it opened the Toronto Film Festival last month. It was no embarrassment, and a number of critics had kind words for Benedict Cumberbatch’s performance as Julian Assange, but the middling response meant any opening-night buzz was swiftly subsumed by the prestige films that followed. (In contrast, “Gravity” opened Venice and was still a talking point by the festival’s close.)

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<p>Tim Olstad of &quot;The X Factor&quot;</p>

Tim Olstad of "The X Factor"

Credit: FOX

Recap: 'The X Factor' Season 3 - The Four-Chair Challenge Round #3

Simon and Paulina face tough decisions

Last week, we were introduced to the 4-Chair Challenge on "The X Factor" and unless you're Ashly Williams or an Ashly Williams fan, the format worked out reasonably well for you. 

With the Girls and the Geriatrics out of the way, let's see which acts we're putting on the spot tonight...

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CBS ends "We Are Men," pushes "Mike & Molly's" return for November

CBS ends "We Are Men," pushes "Mike & Molly's" return for November

"Men" has been canceled after two episodes, and it will be replaced by "2 Broke Girls."

Kate Walsh joins FX's "Fargo"
She'll play a "trophy wife-type" and mother in the Coen brothers remake.

"Breaking Bad" auction nets nearly $1 million
Walter White's tighty whiteys went for $9,900.

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Credit: ABC

'Nashville' recap: 'I Don't Want to Talk About It Now'

Juliette and Rayna aren't making Edgehill happy

The suds keep on a-comin' on "Nashville," as befits a primetime soap chock full of ego-driven (or, in Deacon's case, horribly emotionally scarred) musicians with skeletons in the closet. This week's episode had some good music (always a plus), some repetitive story lines and possibly the exit of Coleman Carlisle (the always excellent Robert Wisdom), which makes for a lot of highs and lows. Kind of like a country song, isn't it?

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